Another hill record broken

The British Hillclimb Championship round at Prescott yesterday saw the hill record broken 3 times, twice by Wallace Menzies and once by Alex Summers. At the start of the day the record stood at 35.42s, set by Sean Gould in 2019, by the end-of-play yesterday that had tumbled to 34.65s with Menzies last run of the day. There was also a welcome back to Will Hall after missing for 6 months due to a damaging ‘off’ previously in the season. Here is is at Orchard:

Will Hall – Force WH XTEC

I was primarily taking images on behalf of Speedscene magazine and so spent the entire day ‘on the hill’ taking shots of every car just in case they were needed for the forthcoming article. It does therefore tend to result in a long series of record shots – but that’s the downside of working to a brief rather than just taking photographs for pleasure – however the upside is that I get them in print which, for me, is the ultimate aim. Actually I must confess to getting a bit ‘arty’ during the morning and took this shot:

Sunshine through the trees at Prescott

Just like buses

Yes, just like buses, you wait for a hill record to be beaten and it happens three times in as many minutes. The hill record at Shelsley Walsh has stood since 2008 when Martin Groves set a time of 22.58s. Yesterday, during the morning top 12 run-off Wallace Menzies broke it first with a run of 22.55s, then Sean Gould followed with an ever faster time of 22.37s. The final contender, Alex Summers, had all the pressure and although achieving a great time had to settle for second place with a run of 22.52s.

Not to be outdone, the ladies record was also broken. In the second and final run-off Nicola Menzies achieved a time of 24.70s taking the 24.73s record set by Sue Young in 2007.

This was a day that many hill climb enthusiasts will remember for some time.

A busy few weeks ahead

At the start of the year I was really questioning how much motorsport photography I wanted to to do this year – but here I am with busy weekends up until the second week of October. So what’s happening in the short-term? This weekend sees me at Shelsley Walsh for another round of the British Hillclimb Championship (and I’ve already been booked to take photographs of the event for Speedscene magazine). The following weekend sees me at Mallory Park with the Vintage Sports-Car Club, and the weekend after I’ll be heading down to Prescott for the annual visit of the Vintage Hot Rod Association. Here’s a shot from last years event:

Champion day

Another round of the British Hillclimb Championship took place at Prescott in Gloucestershire last weekend. I was there on the Sunday and had a ‘champion’ day. Not sure why but I felt really on-the-ball and, even though I say so myself, the photographs reflect it. It had some exciting, and very close, top-12 run-offs which made a very interesting end to the morning and afternoon sessions. It was good to see that the public were allowed in and it certainly gave a better atmosphere to the proceedings even though the crowd was quite small, possibly due to the poor weather forecasted throughout the previous week (which didn’t materialise). I’m now looking forwards to the next local championship round at Shelsley Walsh in August.

The Hillclimb & Sprint Association (HSA) have already used four of my photographs on their website.

Richard Spedding in the second Top 12 run-off

British Hillclimb Championship at Shelsley Walsh

I paid a visit to Shelsley Walsh on Sunday as they hosted a round of the British Hillclimb Championship. Spectators were allowed in once again, albeit in their own ‘bubble’. Shelsley is fortunate in that it is relatively easy for them to create bubbles, with spectators on the right-hand side of the track and competitors and officials on the left. For photographers it does limit the vantage points and so we all end up taking pretty much the same photographs – and it limits how often we can move around because we are on a live track most of the time.

This became more apparent halfway through the morning when I had a telephone call saying that my electronic sign-on wasn’t registered and so I had to ‘immediately’ leave trackside to sign on in the office. At that time I was halfway up the hill at Bottom Ess and had no way of getting down quickly (the footpath was in the other bubble). Fortunately the marshals came to my aid and during the next batch change one of them drove me down in the pick-up. I thought that I was then resigned to spending the rest of the morning at the bottom of the hill but David Lowe (one of the commentators) was heading up the hill at the next opportunity and kindly agreed to take me back up in his Porsche. So I ended up with an impromptu hill climb experience thanks to the kindness of the marshals & officials.

With regards to the competition itself it was a very enjoyable day. It was wet in the morning but dried out considerably from lunchtime onwards and I certainly felt as though my mojo had returned and the photographs reflect it.

Check out the gallery here.

British Hillclimb Championship at Loton Park

In past years Loton Park has always hosted the opening round of the British Hillclimb Championship and so it was a change of the norm’ at the start of the year to see that Prescott had been given the honours for 2021. Fate intervened, however, and the continued Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland & Wales meant that it wouldn’t be fair to hold a round of the championship at that time (April) and so Loton Park once again hosted the first round over the weekend just gone.

With no spectators allowed it sadly lacked atmosphere even though it was a full entry list I certainly couldn’t find much enthusiasm and spent a good part of the morning talking to another photographer over a nice cup of tea and missing photographs of a large number of cars. When a magazine asked me for a list of images of different cars/drivers it was somewhat embarrassing to only be able to supply a very small offering. Must try harder next time!

Check out the gallery here.